Calls for suspension of release program continue

Joe Markley

HARTFORD — State Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) has joined the list of legislators calling for Gov. Dannel Malloy to immediately suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program.

The program allows criminals to be released early from jail early if they exhibit good behavior while incarcerated. The law has been thrust into the spotlight following two separate incidents involving prisoners released from jail early and shortly thereafter committed murder.

“The early release program has only been in effect a few months, and already two cold-blooded murders have been committed by depraved felons let out of prison early under its terms,” said Markley in a prepared statement.

In June a 70-year-old small business owner was shot and killed at his Meriden convenience store. Frank Resto was charged with the crime. Resto earned 199 days of Risk Reduction Credits while serving time for robbery, according to a release issued by the representatives.

In August, an East Hartford store clerk was also murdered. The man arrested, who was previously convicted of robbery and assault, was released early from jail this year due the program.

A coalition of lawmakers, along with State’s Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz has asked Gov. Dannel Malloy to suspend the program and order an investigation into how it is being administered.

“This is not a matter of politics but public safety,” Markley said. “Clearly the early release program doesn’t work, and we risk another tragedy every day it remains in place.  Gov. Malloy should do the right thing, acknowledge his error and suspend the early release program immediately.”

According to the Department of Correction, over 7,500 inmates have been released from prison under the program in less than a year, the release stated. Criminal convictions eligible for reduced prison sentences in Connecticut under the early release law include rape, kidnapping, arson, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, sexual relations with a child under 13 years old, and animal cruelty.

“In passing the early release program, the General Assembly blew on a dandelion full of seeds that will take root everywhere in Connecticut,” Markley said.  “It is time to put victims and our public safety first, and time to stop coddling violent criminals.”